Crossing the Finish Line with Type 1 Diabetes

exercise, type 1 diabetes, cycling, long distance, blood sugar control

Maintaining blood sugars on a long haul – be it running, riding or whatever your favorite sport is, can be a challenge when living with Type 1 diabetes.  In fact, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is:

“How do you control your blood sugars when you exercise?”.

Shy of hauling a trailer full of food and diabetes supplies, one is faced with the complexities of choosing what makes the cut when packing for a long adventure.  Granted, supplies will change depending upon the sport at hand but the basics remain the same.  Intensity of the exercise and hours anticipated off-the-grid will dictate what gets shoved (literally) into pockets and bags. [Read more...]

Hemoglobin A1C and Resulting Surgical Infections

If you are planning on having a surgical procedure any time soon, you may want to take a closer look at your diabetes control- namely your Hemoglobin A1C.

Hemoglobin A1c and resulting infection ratesIt is an established fact that poorly controlled blood sugars play an important role in bodily infections.

Both pre and post-operative blood sugar control can have giant implications on the results of a surgery. Health care providers and surgeons preach about the importance of keeping blood sugars in normal range with good reason.

 

Pre-operative

  • Discuss tactics for blood glucose control with your primary care provider prior to having surgery.
  • Adjust your ratios as needed until you see positive blood sugar results and an acceptable HgbA1C.
  • Postpone elective surgery until your blood sugar goals are met with your provider and are acceptable by your surgeon.
  • Inquire about keeping your insulin pump on during surgery at your pre-operative appointments or any insulin adjustments they recommend.  The end goal from start to finish of procedure is normal blood sugars.  You will always have the opportunity to speak with your anesthesia provider before surgery and set a game plan.
  • Request to be a first morning case- this equates to a clean operating room and less time to remain fasting.

With joint and back surgeries be sure you follow the hospitals protocols for pre-operative testing and skin cleansing to decrease infection rates.  Read this recent article by the Wall Street Journal to see what the nationwide trends in pre-operative teaching include.  “Steps for Surgical Patients to Fight Infection”.

Post-op factors affecting blood glucose control

With post surgery pain, inflammation, changes in physical activity, and stress blood sugar control may not be as easy to control as it was before surgery.

According to a study “Post-Operative Hyperglycemia and Surgical Site Infection in General Surgery Patients” Ashar Ata, et al published in JAMA:

Postoperative hyperglycemia may be the most important risk factor for surgical site infections (SSI). Aggressive early postoperative glycemic control should reduce the incidence of SSI.  It has been well established that patients with diabetes mellitus are more prone to surgical and other nosocomial infections.  Although the mechanism by which diabetes predisposes to SSI is not well understood, hyperglycemia has been proposed as a causative factor for the higher infection rates in diabetic patients.

What is a Hemoglobin A1C test?

See She Sugar’s article Hemoglobin A1C (Glycosolated Hemoglobin, Hgb A1C) Glucose Test for Managing Diabetes

 

 

 

 

Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes

Traveling with Type 1 DiabetesTaking diabetes on the road can add a wrench into normal day-to-day diabetes management.  Between the lack of activity and other variables, one must be vigilant with their diabetes.

In time, the skilled traveler will make appropriate adjustments that come with experience.  Preparing, packing and executing a trip can be worrisome without proper foresight.  The end goal is to have thought things through so well that embarking on an adventure with type 1 diabetes will not be anxiety producing.

Preparing for a trip to the beach, mountains or perhaps overseas all require similar but unique items of importance.  Tapping into the community of folks living with type 1 diabetes can be a fabulous way to get input.  If you use twitter try the hashtags #t1D #type1diabetes #diabetes #DSMA after your message. [Read more...]

Type 1 Diabetes and Bedtime Snacks

type 1 diabetes and bedtime snacks

With type 1 diabetes we never let our guard down- especially in the middle of the night.  One of the most vulnerable times people may encounter is during sleep which brings about the importance of a bedtime snack.

Safety with type 1 diabetes is always paramount.  When we are at rest, our awake clues of hypoglycemia become dampened.  Lets look at the importance of a solid bedtime snack with recommendations from Sara Pinson, Registered Dietician (RD).

[Read more...]

Mini-Meals Tout Health Benefits

TMini-meals tout health benefitshere seem to be two types of eaters, those those that graze and those that eat three square meals.  If you fall into the latter category, you may want to entertain the health benefits found in mini-meals.

This way of eating is far removed from the “all you can eat” buffet idea.  Stuffing yourself at three meals during the day so you have no appetite in between is not only gluttonous, but it smacks at diabetes control.

The most thoughtful diet is one that keeps insulin levels from spiking with minimal impact on blood sugars.  Mini meals are capable of performing such a feat.  Keep in mind- even those without diabetes can suffer from low blood sugar effects with infrequent eating habits.

As diabetes diagnoses are soaring to unparalleled numbers care providers and dieticians are scrambling to make big changes.  The health community is rallying behind the idea of five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day.  Use caution if you are prone to overeating-  keep in mind the more times a person comes into contact with food there is opportunity for overdoing it.  Engaging in conscious eating is so important.

What is a mini-meal?

As I was researching mini-meals I came across McDonald’s idea of a mini-meal.  I must admit I had a few healthier visions for their mini-meals and what I saw was a bit disturbing.  There is nothing “mini” about these options unless you are comparing them to a super-sized version.

Processed food giants have jumped on the bandwagon as well.  I’m sure you’ve seen the 100 calorie packaged items, expect to see this concept expand in 2013.  Many people like to use these as snack items for kids with type 1 diabetes because they tend to be low in carbohydrate levels as well.

 

How many calories should I consume in a day?

Use this Calories Burned Calculator to help you estimate your daily activity level and its relationship to what you eat.

Use this Calories per day calculator to quickly discover what your total daily intake should be to maintain your current weight.

Whether you are eating 3 or 6 meals a day, your total calorie count has a max limit.  It may not always be the same, but your activity level will have it variances as well.

 

“Eliminating food waste, more mini-meals and continued interest in gluten-free products will be top health trends in 2013, according to the Values Institute at DGWB, a social science research group based in Santa Ana… More than ever, health is the new prestige barometer — meaning that most Americans would rather be called healthy than wealthy.”

~ According to Food Business News

 

 

Conscious Breath Lowers Blood Sugars

Conscious Breath Lowers Blood SugarsThere is always a running list of things to do, should “time to breathe” be one of them?  If you are living with diabetes, it should top your list.  The simple act of breathing may help to lower blood sugars amongst a host of other health boosters.

Can I possibly be breathing wrong?
The simple answer is- YES.  Don’t despair, luckily any dysfunctional breathing patterns are easy to adjust.

As we age we can develop patterns of breathing that are unhealthy and symptomatically related to our lives.  Habits can complicate the breath and therefore the health. When we consciously breathe with awareness it promotes good health. [Read more...]

Diabetes and Bedtime Blood Sugars

Diabetes and Bedtime blood sugarsStabilizing bedtime blood sugars is not only a good safety measure, but it serves as an effective sleep enhancer as well.  Whether its your spouse, child or yourself with type 1 diabetes, bedtime blood sugars can be a serious sleep disruptor.

Fortunately, most people with type 1 diabetes will awaken when their blood sugar plummets (hypoglycemia).  People with diabetes may describe having weird dreams prior to awakening with hypoglycemia.
See She Sugar’s article “Hypoglycemia and Dreams” 

Other incidental occurrences such as a fast heart rate, hunger, sweating, or a general feeling of restlessness is enough to wake one from a sound sleep. However, some people won’t awaken with symptoms because of hypoglycemia unawareness and may experience a loss of consciousness or a seizure. [Read more...]

Gamifying Diabetes with a new “Diabesties” App

Gamifying diabetes with a new "diabesties" app

 

Diabesties is a new app that aims to connect and store diabetes data sent between friends.  Diabesties, is not to read diabeasties (as I mistakenly did the first time).  It rather sounds like besties or best friends.

This app is applicable to both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes which is a plus. [Read more...]

Hypoglycemia- How Does it Make You Feel?

Hypoglycemia0 how does it make you feel?

What does hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) really feel like? 

Most parents have no problem interpreting if a blood sugar is low, but can they discipline when their child is hypoglycemic?  It is a frequently asked question and talked about topic amongst parents.

Parents, teachers, and care providers for kids with type 1 diabetes are often left to interpret behaviors.  Is this child misbehaving purposefully or is this a “Houston, we’ve got a problem” moment?  Perhaps this witty child is testing me and using their diabetes as an excuse?  Type 1 diabetes management in a child is simply tricky business.

Every child is unique, therefore parenting is molded to the needs of each individual.  Parents of kids with type 1 diabetes are always sorting through potential diabetes factors, it’s a continuous cycle of what if’s.  I can guarantee there isn’t a parent out there who hasn’t disciplined their child’s behaviors only to figure out they had low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  You don’t have to be a type 1 diabetes rookie to have it happen to you.  With good intentions, you can relieve yourself of the mental muck that comes along with that… [Read more...]

Diabetic Dementia- Blood Sugars vs.Your Memory

diabetes, blood sugar and memory

Diabetic Dementia is a potentially troubling sequelae for 23 million Americans living with diabetes.

In addition to neuropathies, strokes, and organ damage, cerebral (brain) damage is also underway when diabetes is a part of daily life.  Maintaining blood sugars between the lower and upper limits of normal is not only key, but is always a work in progress.

Diabetes and dementia is truly a blanket statement, as no form of diabetes is exempt from this haunting side effect. With diabetes reaching staggering numbers worldwide, it appears dementia will be rising right along with it. [Read more...]

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